Audrey Munson – American Venus

  There are many rags to riches stories in the American experience, as well as the stories of falling from grace and losing fortunes. But out of all of them – hers was the most bizarre. Her name was Audrey Munson. The name was forgotten, but her likeness, cast in granite, bronze, and marble, is…

Owls in Manhattan

James Gordon Bennett Jr. was obsessed. His obsession was quite unusual – it was owls. Some of them, with flickering eyes, can be seen on Herald Square, guarding James Gordon Bennett Monument. Herald Square takes its name from the New York Herald, a newspaper founded by James Gordon Bennett Sr and inherited by Gordon Bennett…

Evelyn Nesbit and “the Trial of the Century”

The premiere of “Mam’zelle Champagne” did not go well. Despite the lovely songs and beautiful ingenues, the show was simply a bore. The performance took place on the rooftop of Madison Square Garden – a lavish venue designed by Stanford White, an accomplished architect and a socialite about town. That fateful night the famous architect…

Edwin Booth, the Hamlet of New York

In the center of Gramercy Park, there is a statue. It depicts an actor in the role of Hamlet, forever contemplating “To Be or Not To Be”. This actor is Edwin Booth. One of the great American Shakespearean actors of the 19th century, he was particularly famous for his signature role of Hamlet. In 1864…

Little Church Around the Corner

A tranquil church with a peaceful courtyard in the heart of Midtown is known by its nickname – the “Little Church around the corner.” Location: 1 East 29th Street Founded: 1848 Architect: Frederick Clarke Withers Tucked away behind a serene courtyard, the Church of the Transfiguration is an unexpected oasis amid the hustle and bustle…

The Players

The Players is a private social club formed to promote communication among artists and patrons of the arts. Modeled after London’s famed Garrick Club, The Players was the first American club of its kind. Location: 16 Gramercy Park South Built: 1844 Architect: Stanford White The Players was founded in 1888 by Edwin Booth, the widely-known…

The Palm Court

The Palm Court 768 5th Ave at 58th St, inside The Plaza Hotel This spectacular room, with its soaring stained-glass roof, transports you to the times of old-world elegance. It was once said, “Nothing unimportant ever happens at The Plaza.” When The Plaza opened its doors in 1907, it was advertised as the Greatest Hotel…

McSorley’s Old Ale House

McSorley’s Old Ale House 15 East 7th St “Be Good or Be Gone” since 1854. Established in 1854, McSorley’s Old Ale House claims to be the oldest saloon in New York. Pretty much everything is the way it used to be: the furniture, the bar, the old stove, the walls covered with memorabilia, and the…

Pete’s Tavern

Pete’s Tavern 129 E 18th St One of the oldest drinking establishments in the city, it’s the birthplace of O. Henry’s famous “The Gift of the Magi” story. Yes, William Sydney Porter, better known to the world by his pen name “O. Henry,” lived nearby at 55 Irving Place. Yes, like so many writers, he…

Delmonico’s

DELMONICO’S 56 Beaver St Delmonico’s, the first fine-dining establishment in the United States, is the birthplace of Eggs Benedict and Baked Alaska. Delmonico’s is an American dining landmark. The restaurant was founded in 1827 by the Delmonico brothers, who came from Switzerland and changed the way America eats. Before Delmonico’s, America did not feed its…